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Getting from Zagreb to Dubrovnik

Zagreb to Dubrovnik

If you decide to visit Zagreb, the Croatian capital, located in the northern part of Croatia as well as Dubrovnik, located on the Croatian coast, there are just three direct travel options you can take – you can either book a flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik with Croatia Airlines, take a bus or drive to Dubrovnik. There is no train or ferry connection between these two cities.

approach to Old Town
photo: approach to Old Town

Buses from Zagreb to Dubrovnik

Between Zagreb and Dubrovnik, there are numerous daytime as well as night buses that depart from Zagreb Central Bus Station (Autobusni Kolodvor Zagreb) where you can buy your ticket.
The journey takes between 8.5 and 12 hours, passing through Karlovac, Plitvice Lakes, Zadar and Split.
Bus tickets cost about 33 Euro one way. All buses from Zagreb arrive at Dubrovnik’s main bus station.

Bus timetables

Timetables change according to season meaning in the winter months, which is a low season, there are usually about 4 bus departures a day, while in summers, the number increases to up to 12 a day. The earliest departure from Zagreb is usually at 7:00, arriving at Dubrovnik bus station at 17:15. The latest departure is at 23:55 arriving at 9:15 the following morning in Dubrovnik. The journey duration is between 8 hr 30 minutes and 10 hrs 20 minutes, depending on the bus route. You can choose from several classes including standard with aircon. The cheapest ticket starts from 25 Euro.

off-season departures from Zagreb
image: off-season departures from Zagreb
high-season departures from Zagreb
image: high-season departures from Zagreb

Bus Ticket prices (Fares)

How much is the bus from Zagreb to Dubrovnik? Prices for a one-way ticket are from 25 to 45 euros, depending on the route and bus company. Child tickets are cheaper and for a return ticket, you get about a 20% discount. You can buy your tickets here: voznired.akz.hr

Bus Travel tip

If the bus timetable does not suit your needs, take the first available bus from Zagreb to Split and from there take another one to Dubrovnik. If you split your journey that way, the buses are much more frequent and if you start early enough you may be lucky to catch a ferry to Dubrovnik from Split.
Or, if you have a bit of the time, perhaps you can consider doing some island hopping detour on the way here. I can recommend this journey as it is a much more pleasant way of travelling than sitting on the bus for 10 plus hours.

Views from a bus on a route
photo: Views from a bus on a route from Zagreb to Dubrovnik

Another reason that I prefer this split journey is that it doesn’t involve two border crossings near Neum (Klek/Zaton Doli) which are time-consuming as there are always people there waiting in a queue. This is especially annoying in the summer when queues are the longest so try to avoid it if you can.

Update: Buses now use the Peljesac bridge en route to get to and from Dubrovnik to Split so no border crossings are involved (unless you travel via Bosnia)

Driving from Zagreb to Dubrovnik

 lovely sunset on the road
Above image: lovely sunset on the road

The distance between these two cities is about 600 km. There are several routes one can take to drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik – depending on your taste and needs :

  1. There is a longer route with scenic views via Karlovac and Plitvice National Park or
  2. Faster one by motorway: Take the A1 route to Ploče, which is the last point you can get to on A1 route. The journey time is about 5 1/2 hours and the toll cost is about 33 Euro.
    Once you get off the A1 motorway near Ploče, take the coastal route to Dubrovnik. The distance is about 100 km and will take you about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach your destination. Update: use the new Peljesac bridge to get here even faster.
  3. Also, you can choose a route via Bosnia, visiting Sarajevo and Mostar. This is a much longer one but it offers some great scenery along the way that makes it worthwhile.

Depending on the route, driving can take up to 8.5 hrs. The fastest way is via the Peljesac Bridge and it takes about 6 hours. If you have time, you can also split these routes into several sections, visiting on the way Plitvice Lakes, Krka National Park or Split.

Need Entry Tickets to Town Walls? Buy Now

Bear in mind to have your travel documents (passport, visa etc) with you as driving from Zagreb to Dubrovnik may involve two border crossings near Neum with Bosnia & Hercegovina: Klek and Zaton Doli border crossings. Update: No border crossings any more if you drive over the newly built Peljesac bridge.

Which route do I recommend? It depends. If you have plenty of time, take the first option. It is free, more enjoyable, leads through the countryside, drives along narrow roads, and allows you to see villages in the Dalmatian hinterland. If in a hurry, take the motorway.

Driving in wintertime

If you intend to drive in wintertime, bear in mind that there may be foggy and slippery roads ahead, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time also, don’t forget to take winter tyres, avoid harsh braking and acceleration and allow for extra travel time – listen to local and national radio for travel information and check hak.hr for update on road conditions.

Popular routes: Split to Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik to Split, Hvar to Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik to Hvar

foggy day on the roads towards Dubrovnik
photo: Driving from Zagreb to Dubrovnik on a foggy day

Map of Driving from Zagreb to Dubrovnik:

Have a look at the below map for the shortest driving/bus route between these two cities and see the difference between this one and a detour via Sarajevo or Mostar.

Flights from Zagreb to Dubrovnik

Zagreb airport (Pleso) is connected by buses from the Zagreb city centre (16 km). Buses to the airport are pretty frequent, departing from Zagreb Central Bus Station for most of the day (see timetable). Dubrovnik airport (Cilipi) is about 20 km away from Dubrovnik town centre. There are 3 or more times a day regular, direct flights by Croatian Airlines between Zagreb and Dubrovnik. The flights take 45-55 minutes. Prices start from just under 95 Euro one way. You can book flight tickets online here: https://booking.croatiaairlines.com/

flight on a small aeroplane, interior with views - approach to Dubrovnik
Photo: flight on a small aeroplane, interior with views – approach to Dubrovnik

Once you arrive at Dubrovnik Airport, take a buspre-arranged transfertaxi or Uber to Dubrovnik town centre. The ride lasts about 20 minutes and costs start from 13 euros. You can buy your bus ticket from the airport to the Old Town or ferry port here.

Zagreb to Dubrovnik by Train or Ferry

There is no train connection between Dubrovnik and Zagreb. The nearest train station to Dubrovnik is Ploce which you can consider as your arrival point, although there have been fewer and fewer trains arriving in the last couple of years in Ploce so the train to Dubrovnik option is less attractive. In fact, Split is the only place in Dalmatia where you can consider arriving by train. To use a ferry for your trip, you can get on a bus to Split and then take the ferry to Dubrovnik.

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